The race is on to vaccinate as many Americans as possible against COVID-19, but a significant number of people in the U.S. are still reluctant to get the shots, even in places where they are plentiful. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll reports that 25% of Americans say they probably or definitely will not get vaccinated.
The holdouts are leery about possible side effects. They tend to be Republican, and they are usually younger and less susceptible to becoming critically ill or dying if they catch COVID-19.
There’s been a slight shift, though, since the first weeks of the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign, which began in mid-December. An AP-NORC poll conducted in late January showed that 67% of adult Americans were willing to get vaccinated or had already received at least one shot. Now that figure has climbed to 75%.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
VACCINES: More than 101.8 million people, or 30.7% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 57.9 million people, or 17.5% of the population, have completed their vaccination.
CASES: The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. increased over the past two weeks from 54,696 on March 18 to 65,684 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
DEATHS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. decreased over the past two weeks decreased from 1,228 on March 18 to 869 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
— CDC: Those fully vaccinated can travel again in U.S.
— UK bans travel from 4 more nations over virus; 39 in all
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
PHOENIX — The governor of Arizona is demanding that Phoenix drop plans to close parking lots and grills at city parks on Easter weekend.
Gov. Doug Ducey blasted Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego for the move, escalating a long-simmering fight between the Republican governor and Democratic mayor.
The city says parks are open but parking is restricted to discourage large gatherings that can lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Ducey says the decision will only drive gatherings indoors where virus transmission is more likely.
The governor’s comments come as Arizona reports the largest daily increase in confirmed COVID-19 infections in three weeks with 940 additional cases along with 12 more deaths.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon’s top public health official says the governor needs to “start raising a ruckus” over what he sees as an unfair supply of the COVID-19 vaccine sent to Oregon by the federal government compared to other states.
Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said in a letter to Gov. Kate Brown that if Oregon received the same amount of vaccine doses per capita as California, Oregon could have vaccinated an additional 150,000 residents by now.
He says if Oregon got as much vaccine as Kansas, that number rises to 227,000 additional Oregonians vaccinated.
Oregon ranks 39th in doses administered.
BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia has received the first shipment of vaccines via the international COVAX mechanism.
International and the officials from the Serbian government welcomed at the Belgrade airport the delivery of 57,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Serbia has separately acquired vaccines primarily China’s Sinopharm and also Pfizer-BioNTech, Russia’s Sputnik V and AstraZeneca. The country of 7 million so far has vaccinated some 1.5 million people with at least one dose.
Authorities also proposed to allow bars and restaurants to serve guests outside and stay open longer from next week, although nearly 5,000 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours and 39 people died.
Serbian doctors have repeatedly called for tougher measures warning that the system is highly-strung, but the government argues that lockdown is hurting the economy.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities announced to start walk-in vaccination of people who are 65-year-old or above amid a spike in fatalities and confirmed cases from coronavirus.
The older people can just walk in to designated medical facilities to get vaccination, according to the country’s National Command and Control Center which oversees Pakistan’s response to COVID-19.
The announcement comes after Pakistan imported 1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China, the first purchase that comes after initial donations. Pakistan is currently in the middle of the third wave of coronavirus.
Pakistan on Friday reported over 5,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day infection rate since June 2020.
Pakistan has reported a total of 678,165 infection cases and 14,613 deaths from coronavirus since last year.
CAMDEN, Ala. — Residents 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in Alabama on Monday, expanding an immunization program that ranks last in the nation.
Gov. Kay Ivey, who made the announcement Friday after touring a National Guard vaccine clinic in her home county of Wilcox, called the vaccine against the coronavirus “our ticket back to normal.”
The expansion of the vaccines means about 4 million of the state’s 4.9 million residents will be eligible for shots.
The state is currently receiving 115,000 first doses weekly, according to the governor’s office. More than 1.1 million people have received at least one vaccine dose in Alabama, and more than 660,000 are fully vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate Alabama is last in the nation for one-shot vaccinations (24.7%), with neighboring Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee only slightly better.
More than 10,600 people have died from the coronavirus in Alabama, which has reported 516,000 cases.
PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are preparing to move the state’s largest COVID-19 vaccination site indoors as temperatures rise.
Gov. Doug Ducey says the site will move April 23 from the parking lot of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals stadium in Glendale to the air-conditioned interior of the nearby NHL’s Arizona Coyotes arena. It will stop its current 24-hour-a-day operations and run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ducey made the announcement as the state reported its largest daily increase in confirmed cases in three weeks with 940 infections and 12 more deaths.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated to get service.
The Republican governor had previously announced his intent to issue an order banning so-called “vaccine passports.” His action also barred any government agency in Florida from issuing such documentation for the purpose of providing proof of vaccinations.
In his executive order, DeSantis asserts “vaccination passports reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy.”
The order doesn’t preclude businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores, from screening protocols and other measures recommended by state and federal health officials.
Florida has reported more than 2 million cases and nearly 33,500 confirmed deaths.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey reported 42,308 coronavirus cases on Friday, a single-day record for infections.
The new infections pushed the total number of cases to 3.4 million.
This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government reinstated weekend lockdown in most of Turkey’s provinces. He also announced restrictions over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid a new surge of infections in the country.
About 75% of the infections have been traced to the more contagious variant first identified in Britain, according to the health ministry.
Turkey’s overall confirmed death toll rose to 31,892, with 179 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson has started testing its COVID-19 vaccine on adolescents, beginning with those ages 16 and 17.
The teens will be added to an ongoing study of the vaccine in adults that began last September, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based drugmaker said Friday. After initial data from the older teens is reviewed, the trial will expand to add adolescents ages 12 to 15.
J&J says the first teens are being enrolled in the United Kingdom and Spain. Teens in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands will be added, followed by teens in Brazil and Argentina.
The study is testing the safety and efficacy of both one-dose and two-dose regimens of the vaccine, with the two-dose regimens being studied at intervals of one, two and three months after the first shot.
Dr. Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development for the company’s Janssen pharmaceuticals unit, says it also expects to initiate studies in pregnant women and children.
A total of 100 million J&J doses are pledged for the U.S. by late May or June.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government says it is temporarily halting AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccinations for people under age 60.
The move Friday follows reports of very small number of people suffering unusual blood clots after receiving the shot.
The Dutch decision comes three days after authorities in Germany also stopped using the AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the under-60s. Germany cited new concerns over unusual blood clots in a tiny number of those who received the shots.
A Dutch organization that monitors vaccine side effects says it has received five reports of blood clots with low blood plate counts following AstraZeneca vaccinations. All the cases occurred between seven and 10 days after the vaccinations and all involved women ages 25 to 65 years.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey is administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, along with the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac company, amid a sharp increase in infections.
Hospitals across the country started delivering Pfizer shots on Friday as cases hit record highs. This week, the government re-imposed weekend lockdowns and announced restrictions during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan to deal with the surge.
The country of 84 million rolled out its vaccination program in mid-January with shots developed by Sinovac and has administered 16.5 million shots. More than 7 million people have received two doses of the vaccine.
Turkey has received 2.8 million doses of the Pfizer shot and expects to receive 4.5 million in total before the end of the month, the health minister says.
KYIV, Ukraine — Coronavirus infections and deaths in Ukraine reached new records on Friday, with health authorities reporting 19,893 cases and 433 confirmed deaths.
Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said this week the British variant of the virus has spread across the country, and the South African variant has been detected in two regions.
Ukraine began vaccinations in late February after receiving 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, reluctance to take the shots has been strong despite the influx of new infections and the strain on the health care system.
Ukraine, a nation of 41 million, has reported a total of 1.7 million coronavirus cases and 33,679 confirmed deaths.
NEW YORK — Add travel to the activities vaccinated Americans can enjoy again.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance Friday to say fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S., without getting a COVID-19 test or going into quarantine.
The agency previously cautioned against unnecessary travel even for vaccinated people. The agency says vaccinated people should wear a mask and socially distance when traveling.
For international travel, vaccinated people should still get a COVID-19 test before flying to the U.S. and be tested soon after returning. Unvaccinated people are advised to avoid unnecessary travel.
According to the CDC, some 56 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, are fully vaccinated. Nearly 100 million people in the U.S., or about 30% of the population, have received at least one dose.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Department of Health has announced that 1 million residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
It says roughly 22% of the state’s population has received at least one dose. The department says more than half of Tennesseans over age 60 have received a first dose and nearly two-thirds of those over 70 have received their initial dose.
The agency noted that vaccinations among Tennessee’s Black and Hispanic populations have also increased. Black people make up about 16% of the state’s nearly 7 million residents.
Tennessee is expanding COVID-19 eligibility to people 16 and older on Monday.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The number of daily coronavirus cases in Bosnia has surpassed 2,000, its highest total during the pandemic.
Authorities say 2,154 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 88 people have died in the country of 3.3 million.
Bosnia has some of the highest death rates in the Balkans. The health authorities have urged Bosnia’s Catholics to celebrate the Easter holidays within their closest family circle as the region faces an ongoing surge.
In neighboring Croatia, authorities say they may reactivate a make-shift hospital in a sports hall in the capital of Zagreb if hospitalizations continue to rise. The country of 4.2 million people on Friday reported 2,362 new cases and 29 confirmed deaths.